Computational science as a force for change

November 20, 2013
Computational science as a force for change

CSE SM students aim to improve security, finance, medicine, and more

While serving as a watch officer and navigator aboard the Willow, a 225-foot Coast Guard cutter, Lt. Isaac Slavitt conducted search-and-rescue missions and patrolled for drug smugglers in the waters off the U.S. Atlantic coast. But it wasn’t always easy to pinpoint a target in a vast expanse of ocean. In the future, the commissioned officer hopes to refine those life-saving maritime operations using the computational skills he is learning in Harvard’s new master’s program in computational science and engineering (CSE).

The CSE program at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), offered through the School’s Institute for Applied Computational Science (IACS), introduces students to the power of computation as an essential tool in solving real-world challenges. The 24 students in the inaugural CSE class came to Harvard from medical school, software programming, economics, careers on Wall Street, and many other backgrounds, with plans to either revolutionize their own fields or break into new ones.

“We hear a lot about big data these days, and I think that's because tackling real-world problems now really demands applied math and computer science in order to get the best results,” Slavitt says. “The CSE program sits right at a kind of ‘sweet spot’ between both disciplines.”

Continue reading this piece on the SEAS website for profiles of two other CSE SM students, Tegan Brennan and Daniel Newman.